munipiece2.jpgFive weeks is a long time for a fundraiser — imagine if your “Fresh Air” listening was interrupted by begging for bucks for so long! — but the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency is not your typical needy entity. The MTA will start selling taxicab medallions on May 20, director Nathaniel P. Ford, Sr., told the Appeal on Wednesday night, and has until the July 1 end of the fiscal year to make a projected $11.2 million.

In other words, Muni has five weeks to sell about 44 taxi permits, otherwise next year’s budget deficit gets bigger.

Realistically, the MTA hopes to reap anywhere between $4 million and $5 million from the taxicab sales, Ford said Wednesday. That’s still four a week, at $250,000 per, so not bad of a haul per sale. The $11.2 million was included in the current fiscal year’s budget. Any difference will be “carried over” into next year’s budget, Ford said, when $36 million from the state will be available.

This projection just includes sales from the “50-60” taxi medallions the MTA currently has on hand, Ford said. Under the pilot sales plan approved by the MTA this spring, any driver over 70 who holds a medallion may sell it. The MTA would reap an additional $50,000 for each medallion an elderly driver sells.

The fixed $250,000 price, with guaranteed 7 percent financing from a consortium of lenders for a driver seeking a loan, is good only until December 31. At some time before then, the MTA board will revisit the taxi question and potentially change the terms of sale (To an auction? To a lottery? To an archery contest? Only time will tell).

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